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May 30, 201309:47 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Rivista: Magazine Street's New Cafe and Bakery

Rivista's Turnovers

Chefs Chris and Lisa Barbato have opened Rivista, a bakery and restaurant at 4226 Magazine St. I'm told the name translates to “magazine” in Italian, and as my budget for this column does not include translation services, I'm inclined to accept it. Ultimately the name isn't important; what matters is what's on the plate, and the food at Rivista is worth a look.


Lisa Barbato has been operating a popular stand at the Crescent City Farmers Market for quite a while, and before that she was the pastry chef at Peristyle. Her husband and partner in the venture, chef Chris Barbato, was most recently the executive chef at Cafe Adelaide, and they bring a great deal of experience to their new venture.


The restaurant occupies a narrow space in a block of Magazine Street that has seen a number of new eateries open in the last year. Watch your step when you enter the space, as there's a quick change in elevation. There are tables to your right as you enter, and a long, standing bar to the left. At the end of the room a small counter doubles as a display case for both sweet and savory pastries. A chalkboard menu opposite the counter displays the daily menu.


You will not find a better turnover in New Orleans, and I'd be hard-presed to tell you where I'd found a better one anywhere else for that matter. On recent visits I've sampled mixed berry, apple and a cherry-chocolate pastry that my wife called “awesome.” I had to agree.


I'm also a fan of the madeleines, which at Rivista come with a bit of raspberry jam in the middle. They're perfectly executed; not too sweet, and with a firm crumb. Savory options change regularly, and your best bet is to simply visit and peruse the chalkboard menu. Options include paninis and salads as well as a daily soup special. Here, for example, is the current savory menu:


zuppa - vichyssoise

insalata - market salad of mixed greens, stone fruit, spiced pecans, goat cheese, in a white balsamic vinaigrette

antipasto - prosciutto e melone

panino - smokey pork rillette, with sea salt mayo, and arugula on a warm Bellegrade baguette 

piadini - salami, ham, provalone and tapenade or mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto


If this sounds interesting, you can learn more by calling 371-5558; Rivista is open from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene


Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived in New Orleans his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.




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